CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…27th November-3rd December 2022-Monday Musings, #,Chicken and Mushroom Pate, #Christmas Recipes, #Edible Flowers #…

Hello and welcome to my weekly roundup of posts you may have missed during the week…weather wise it has been heating up so much for being “winter”…its nice weather to walk in though especially in the early mornings before the sun gets high… I am increasing my daily steps gradually and feel much better it certainly clears the cobwebs …It is enjoyable walking in the early morning nice and quiet plus you get the best of the markets and walking around the lake is so beautiful early in the morning plus and I am so excited that for the first time in absolute years my weight falls within the ” normal range” and I have been working so hard to achieve this…I am really, really pleased albeit it is at the top end of the chart and I want to be around the middle of the chart …the end is in sight…or the beginning I should say …

I have started testing the last of my Christmas dishes…next week I have Christmas menus to finish writing and have decided to do a vegetarian Christmas dinner for one as many of my friends are the only vegan or vegetarian in their family and their Christmas dinner is sometimes put on the back burner as they are so busy sorting out the menus for everyone else…

Due to family commitments, I am not spending as much time online but I am enjoying just being… cooking,  walking and enjoying life away from the screen …it clears the cobwebs and I can get my thoughts in order…x

As bills are rising daily and many people are wondering how they will pay their energy bills and manage Christmas…well Christmas comes every year and giving someone a lovely jar of homemade jam or chutney, some dried herbs beautifully packaged, a mini Christmas pudding or mini Christmas cake, homemade sweets like fudge or coconut ice is always a winner as most adults don’t want for much and a homemade gift implies thought and love …so with the money, you save on Supermarket deliveries you can get creative and cooking…if its recipes then John Rieber has a delicious recipe for turkey so please if you already haven’t then pop over and have a read and if Turkish Delight is your Christmas treat then there is also a recipe from Sheree so you can make own one for you and maybe a couple for some gifts…

Monday Musings…28th November 2022…How to save money on UK supermarket food deliveries, delicious bacon wrapped maple glazed turkey and homemade Turkish Delight!

My chicken recipe last week was for a Christmas Pate..we love chicken and mushroom pate on some lovely bread or crackers or on some delicious fresh crispy veggies like celery, peppers, and batons of carrots all lovely with a touch of pate…

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Chicken and Mushroom Pate…

I’m a big fan of homemade smoothies and they are a great way to use up bits and bobs of fruit and veggies…plus if you are busy they can make a great meal replacement sometimes…

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Banana Espresso Smoothie.

I love to look at a dish where flowers are used they always look so pretty…I also loved stuffed courgette flowers…and camomile tea is one of my favourite teas…I am just such a nerd that I love to know what I could use and what I can’t…

Friday Food Review…Edible Flowers…Part 2…Cornflower, Rosella and Jasmine flowers…

We all want to enjoy Christmas and I have learnt over the years to prepare as much as can and it really does make a difference…

CarolCooks2…Christmas Recipes…Prepare now…Freeze for later…

Thank you for joining me today as always I appreciate your visit and love to read your comments…I hope you are all having a great weekend x

CarolCooks2…Christmas Recipes…Prepare now…Freeze for later…

The time is just flying by now it’s 3rd December already…

Have you finished shopping? Have you wrapped your presents yet? preparation done? Don’t know what to make? Well never fear Carol is here???

Today I am going to give you a few recipes and tips about what you can cook in advance to make life just that bit easier on the day…

Sausage rolls and mince pies

We have made our sweet mincemeat...haven’t we??? and just in case the Christmas recipes are on the same post…

Pastry Recipe.

This recipe is from my mum she makes the best pastry ever and I try really hard to match hers but she once told me that no two batches of pastry are ever alike and that the only person who realises that is moi….and I think she is right..mums usually are 🙂

I use half fat to the flour so for example 8 oz  Flour and 4 oz fat.

Ice cold water added 1 tbsp at a time( the amount depends on the flour used)

1 egg beaten for the glaze.

I know that fat varies depending on where you live, in the Uk ..well spoilt for choice because we invented pastry…well from as far back as the Romans when it was crude flour and water wrapped around meat and game before cooking and no way would you eat it…it was to retain meat juices.

Over time pastry was enriched with fat and milk and began to vaguely resemble today’s shortcrust. But living here in Thailand my choice is restricted…..I have a choice of pastry fat or Crispo…sometimes I mix the two when making meat pies but I digress.

For mince pies, I use pastry fat. When making pastry it must be kept cool which here is never easy ..so fat from the fridge, iced water from the fridge and a fan madly whirring to keep the air cool..and me folks…I touch the pastry mix as little as possible, I quickly rub the fat into flour to resemble breadcrumbs, add iced water gradually, and draw together with your fingers to make a ball, if too dry add more water, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 20 mins in the fridge.

When I roll I use the heel of my hand to start to flatten the pastry and roll it gently out to desired thickness…I handle as little as possible to keep cool.

Using a pastry cutter, cut circles and line patty tins, add filling and top with a pastry lid. Brush tops with beaten egg. Cook in the oven on 200c/gas7 for 15-20 mins until golden. Remove from oven, cool slightly and dust with icing sugar.

Note: Some of you may have noticed I don’t add sugar to my shortcrust pastry…With the sweetness of the filling and the icing dusting, I /we all feel it is sugar overload but personal preference if you like to add 1 tbsp sugar to the breadcrumbs before adding water.

I also use the same pastry for my sausage rolls…

Now….if you make them now omit the cooking stage and freeze them uncooked in a sealed container separate the layers with greaseproof paper and just take out however many you want as needed and cook…Simples!

For sausage rolls, I use the same pastry. I add finely chopped onions, garlic and a little sage to my sausage meat or I did in the UK…I can’t get it here so I make my own very finely chop my pork making sure I add a little of the fat and then add the seasoning as above.

Cranberry Sauce.

  • 3  cups or 12oz of cranberries.
  • The juice of 2 large Oranges.
  • A cup of sugar.
  • 1 stick of cinnamon.

Put all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan, bring to a boil and turn down so it is still a rolling boil and cook for 10 mins if ( using) frozen berries or 20 minutes if using fresh cranberries as they will take a bit longer to pop.

Allow the mixture to cool and put it in an airtight container and refrigerate.

 Stuffing Mix:

Now stuffing mix is hard to get here and because it is imported also expensive. I have tried various stuffings in the past with limited success…we didn’t like them!

I found this recipe on a blog the other week and it sounded great…It had bacon in it…

Picture this…. I thought I had all the ingredients .. wrong!….no bacon and the nearest shop was a way away so I put my thinking cap on and tweaked the recipe and it turned out brilliant…..Replaced the bacon with Minced Pork, The stuffing mix( which) I had not heard of became just breadcrumbs. Chestnuts I didn’t have but they were optional.

The celery became Thai celery which is much smaller more the size of coriander…

Ingredients:

  • 200 gm of Minced Pork
  • 6 oz  of breadcrumbs
  • 3 oz finely chopped chestnuts( optional)
  • 5 shallots finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • A bunch of Thai celery chopped finely. Which when chopped did take on more of a celery smell.
  • Freshly made chicken stock.
  • Salt, fresh ground pepper.
  • Tbsp dried Sage
  • Fresh rosemary.
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme.

Heat pan with a glug of olive oil and 1oz butter. Add shallots and garlic cook 2/3 mins until soft but not coloured add mince and celery and chestnuts if using cook for a further 4/5 mins. Add breadcrumbs gradually moistening the mix with spoonfuls of stock as required.

The mix should be fairly thick but soft so you are able to form balls…Add herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Allow to cool slightly and then form into balls.

If you want to freeze them then do it at this stage. Pack into a freezer box and all ready for Christmas day.

If not then cook in the oven until lightly browned and crispy approx 20/30 mins on 180 degrees. I didn’t need to add any additional fat as the oil and butter already incorporated in the stuffing mix kept them moist and not too dry but if required add more oil.

I generally don’t like meat in stuffing mixes but the amount I added was small and gave a nice texture and flavour but wasn’t the overriding taste.

This is now going to be my Christmas stuffing.

Pigs in Blankets:

  • 8 thin slices of smoked bacon
  • 16 chipolata sausages
  • I tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp clear honey.

Mix honey, thyme and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl, add sausages and make sure they are coated in the mix. Cut bacon down the middle long ways. Wrap bacon around sausages.

To freeze now put in a container and separate the layers with a piece of greaseproof then remove  from the freezer on Christmas morning and cook as below

Put sausages on a baking sheet well spaced apart.

Cook at 180 for about 30 minutes until nicely browned and the bacon is crispy.

Bread Sauce.

Freeze the breadcrumbs ready to use( I always) keep a bag of frozen breadcrumbs in the freezer. The sauce can be made the day before and reheated on the day… I have been surprised living here that many people have not heard of bread sauce my mum always made it at Christmas we couldn’t have turkey without bread sauce…

Ingredients:

About half a loaf of Stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.

  • I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • Salt & Pepper.
  • About half pint of milk.

Let’s Cook!

Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to a boil and turn down and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool remove the Onion and bay leaves. This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.

What to make in advance???

Yesterday I pickled some more onions and just hope I don’t have to pickle more before Christmas I made 4 jars so even the one who shall be nameless doesn’t eat a jar full a week.

  • 2 lb Pickling Onions, peeled.
  • 11/2 pints pickling vinegar…I use white vinegar or a mix of apple cider and white vinegar.
  • 2 tbsp Pickling spices or your mix…again I mix black, and white peppercorns, and coriander seeds.

Method2 days before mix 2pts water with 4 oz salt pour over onions, cover and keep in a cool place. I keep it in the fridge due to the heat here.

Then drain onions and pat dry. Pack into sterilised jars layering pickling spices as you go then pour vinegar over the onions making sure they are completely covered. Store for 4-6 weeks and they ready…They are the crispest onions I have eaten, far better than shop bought and generally don’t get to 4 weeks let alone 6 weeks as they get dipped into …men!

That’s all for today…..Take care and have fun as always thank you for joining me it is much appreciated plus I always look forward to your comments x

Friday Food Review…Edible Flowers…Part 2…Cornflower, Rosella and Jasmine flowers…

 

I watch all…well most of the cooking programmes…I love Masterchef and Great British Menu and I am in awe of the beautiful presentation of the food if I can ever-present food that resembles those dishes just a little then I will be a happy bunny.

Lots of the FB and Instagram posts portray such beautiful food often adorned with pretty flowers which seems to be something of the norm now…BUT….. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THOSE PRETTY FLOWERS ARE????

DO YOU ASSUME BECAUSE THEY ARE IN A DISH THAT THEY ARE EDIBLE???

Well, Don’t! Pretty does not mean it’s safe to eat…a bit like mushrooms some of the prettiest mushrooms are the deadliest…and don’t forget we don’t want to eat flowers if they have been sprayed with a pesticide so if you are buying edible flowers you need to know their source…

A fairly accurate rule of thumb is if the flower produces an edible fruit then the flower is safe to eat that is of course if it is palatable…

Rosella Flowers…(hibiscus)

Yesterday I was lucky to see some beautiful rosella flowers (krachiap) in the Thai language on the market they are just in season and today I couldn’t resist and I bought some…Rosella chutney is lovely and the dried flower bracts also make a lovely tea…it always reminds me of the hot Ribena my mother used to make for us…

For the chutney which is both sweet and sour in taste, I use the flower leaves the bright red petal of the fruit. If you follow this link you will find the recipes for both the jam and the rosella chutney…

Cornflower…

The cobalt-blue petals have a sweet, spicy taste and can be sprinkled over salads and cakes, baked in shortbread, or frozen in ice cubes for cocktails…a favourite childhood memory cornflowers used to grow all around my grandad’s farm such a beautiful blue I loved them as a child…

If you have the climate and can sow the seeds now direct or undercover they can be planted in autumn or spring for flowers throughout summer. It’s a good plant for pollinators, too – the bees adore it.

Jasmine Flowers…

Jasmine on a summer’s evening when planted outside your back door the smell just wafts under the nose…a glorious smell…comes from those tiny clusters of white flowers.

The star-shaped, scented white flowers are heaven in green tea. They can be made into sweet syrup (with sugar and water) or added whole to desserts (such as Persian milk pudding), rice dishes, ice cream, and cocktails.

Thank you for joining me today as always I appreciate your support and look forward to your comments x

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Banana Espresso Smoothie.

This is a recipe that my daughter gave me along with a packet of Chia seeds as I can’t always get them here. Bananas we have in spades as they grow in abundance here so my freezer always have frozen bananas ready to make a smoothie. foodiesfeed-com_oatmeal-chia-banana-walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen Banana plus a few slices to garnish
  • 1 cup of coconut milk.
  • 2 tbsp oats.
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter or you can use halved walnuts as in the picture saving a few for decoration.
  • A shot of espresso.
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds and honey.

Put all ingredients in your blender and blitz away.

Pour into glass and enjoy!

Thank you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments x

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Chicken and Mushroom Pate…

 

Good morning and welcome to my kitchen where all my recipes are cooked by me and tried and tested on my family…Trust me they are the harshest of critics…also it’s not long until Christmas Day so I will be trotting out some Christmassy Recipes all tried tested over the years and firm family favourites…today it a Chicken and mushroom pate…

Chicken and Mushroom Pate ( one of my grandson’s favourites) and so quick to make.

Ingredients:

  • 450gm/11b Chicken Livers.
  • 4 Chestnut Mushrooms finely chopped.
  • 220gm/8oz Butter.
  • 2/4 cloves garlic finely chopped.
  • 2/3 banana shallots finely chopped or small brown onion.
  • 1 tbsp ish of Brandy.
  • 1tsp Mustard Powder.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • 1 bay leaf and 3 cranberries for decoration.

Let’s Cook!

Melt 4oz of butter in a pan add chopped onions and cook until soft but not coloured. Add mushrooms about halfway through cooking.

Add garlic and chicken Livers and fry until cooked through.

Add Brandy..my hands wobbled at this stage and I deviated slightly from said recipe…I put 2 spoons in..haha.

Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place the Liver mix and 2oz of remaining butter in the food processor and blend until smooth.

Taste and season again with salt and freshly ground pepper.

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Put in Ramekin or small dish, decorate with bay leaf and 3 cranberries ( I used small lime leaves as had no fresh bay leaves.

Chill and serve and enjoy!

Thank you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments x

Monday Musings…28th November 2022…How to save money on UK supermarket food deliveries, delicious bacon wrapped maple glazed turkey and homemade Turkish Delight!

Good Morning…and welcome to Monday Musings… a place where my inner child comes out sometimes and also where anything which has wowed or dismayed me has happened over the last week…

With food prices rising around the world…most of us are looking to cut costs wherever we can…I also think that in the aftermath of covid many people have realised that online shopping is the way to go…personally, as I walk everywhere I only carry what goes in my tote bag and isn’t too heavy…bulk buys and heavier items I purchase on-line and it does have its benefits as it’s not so easy to impulse buy I find…this link has all the info you would like to compare costs on UK supermarket FOOD deliveries…

https://afternoontea4two.com/2021/12/27/how-to-save-money-on-supermarket-food-deliveries/

I am still finding it difficult to get my head around the fact that this year is coming to end and Christmas will soon be upon us…and yes without a doubt it’s still early for a Christmas tree especially if its a real one as if you aren’t super fastidious with watering it won’t last and I think its a super idea to rent a tree that will delivered and picked up and replanted I think it’s a great idea and the way go and it seems more and more tree suppliers are offering this service…Just pop an enquiry into google or whoever your favourite search provider is and find a local supplier…

Thanksgiving is over for those who celebrate and some in style… I have come across some delicious recipes not forgetting that we have Christmas to come…This post is from John who blogs at Bite! Eat! !Repeat! and John has some wonderful recipes that we could make for our Christmas  Dinner…what’s not to love about a bacon-wrapped Maple syrup glazed turkey or a delicious potato pie…please head over and have a peruse and take your appetite with you…

https://biteeatrepeat.com/2022/11/22/my-bacon-wrapped-maple-glazed-thanksgiving-turkey-recipe-my-52-in-22-cooking-challenge-has-potato-pie-white-castle-stuffing-too/

Finally, something I love and is always my Christmas treat...but something I have never attempted to make myself is Turkish Delight…

Achetez les délices turcs à la rose - Grand Bazaar Istanbul Achat en ligne

If you think that looks delicious then please click the highlighted link below for the recipe…

https://viewfromtheback.com/2022/11/26/the-musette-rose-turkish-delight/

Thank you for joining today for Monday Musings as always I look forward to your comments x